Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday dedicated the newly built international terminal (T2) at the city airport to the nation and said it marks the beginning of a fresh chapter in development of civil aviation industry.
"This shows our ability to build world class infrastructure. The T2 is truly first class terminal," he said while inaugurating the swanky terminal of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
It marks the beginning of a new chapter in growth of civil aviation sector in the country, he said.
The four-storey glass marvel, whose design has been inspired by a dancing peacock, will become operational from February. T2 has come up at a whopping investment of Rs 9,800 crore.
The sprawling premises boasts of tens of thousands of artifacts and paintings, housing arguably one the largest collections in the world at an airport.
The most attractive feature of the swanky terminal is the museum of artifacts. Stretching along a 3-km art wall, the museum houses over 7,000 artifacts collected from over 1,500 artists across the country.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Union Science and Technology Minister S Jaipal Reddy, NCP President and Union Minister Sharad Pawar, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, among others.
Singh listed out the initiatives including the decision to allow up to 49 per cent FDI by foreign carriers in domestic airlines, FDI in airport infrastructure and said these steps would "help Indian carriers through equity infusion."
"We have attempted to improve airport infrastructure through private participation in greenfield airports and PPP in select airports currently being operated by the Airports Authority of India," he said.
Expressing happiness that the PPP model has worked particularly well in the aviation sector, he said five PPP airports were now handling about 57 per cent of the passenger traffic and about 70 per cent of cargo in the country.
"The success of Terminal-2 should give a boost to other PPP projects in the country, which are under implementation or are at the planning stage," he said.
Noting that India's propensity for air travel was "currently very low" , he said "our figure for domestic air trips per person is only about 0.05 per year, compared to 1.8 in the USA, 0.25 in Brazil and 0.15 in China. There is, therefore, tremendous potential for growth of the civil aviation sector in our country."
The inauguration ceremony was attended by political heavyweights like Union Ministers Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel and S Jaipal Reddy, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Minister of State for Civil Aviation K C Venugopal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
The Prime Minister also noted the "serious challenges" which need to be overcome in expansion of brownfield airports without affecting existing operations.
Mumbai airport is "now the third best global airport in the 25 to 40 million Passenger Capacity category. I am sure that with the commissioning of its Terminal-2, this airport will improve even further and will be counted among the very best in the world," he said.
The state-of-the-art T2 will be larger than Singapore's Changi T3 (3.80 lakh sqm) and London's Heathrow T5 (3.53 lakh sqm). It will be able to accommodate 9,900 passengers during peak hours. It has a 7-lakh sq ft area of retail space, lounges and travel services.
The new terminal's sprawling premises boast of thousands of artefacts and paintings, housing arguably one the largest collections at any airport.
Stretching along a 3-km art wall, the museum houses over 7,000 artefacts collected from over 1,500 artists across the country.
Spread over a little over 4.39 lakh square meters, the T2 has been designed to cater to an estimated 40 million passengers annually.
The new terminal project, carried out by the GVK-led consortium, missed several deadlines in past three years and incurred over 32 per cent cost escalation.
As far as facilities are concerned, the terminal will have 188 check-in counters, 60 immigration sites for departing passengers and 76 immigration counters for incoming fliers.
Also, passengers will have access to 47 escalators and 73 elevators. The facilities also include 52 boarding gates, around 11,000 seats, 101 toilets, 44 travelators, 16 lounges, and 10 baggage carrousels, among others.